Thin Brick Tile Installation Instructions
Antique fired brick are ceramics, and when sawn thin for interior use, they can be installed on walls or floors just like any other unglazed ceramic tile. We recommend North American Tile Council standards for the installation of our thin brick tile. Although there are companies that sell metal grid and tab systems for the installation of thin brick, we believe these are both an unnecessary cost and an added step. Additionally, these systems have a fixed height, so they eliminated the ability to fudge the grout line (typically 3/8" to simulate a standard mortar joint) slightly to avoid having a partial coarse of brick at the top or bottom of the installation.
Thin Brick Veneer Installation Video from Vintage Brick SalvageNote: We made this video back 2006, just before we received our equipment to cut single piece "L" shaped corner pieces. If you are using our corners, be sure to start at the corners and work outward.
(If you don't see the video below you can click here to see it on Google videos)
Reclaimed Brick Veneer Tile Installation Materials ListWith the exception of our reclaimed brick tile, everything you need is available at any home improvement store:
1/4" X 1/4" notch trowel
Masons mix mortar for grout, you can buy this premixed or mix 1 part portland cement to 3 parts sand
Thin set mortar
Brick laying trowel
Tuck pointing trowel
Mixing blade for power drill (optional but it sure helps!)
Tile Cutting saw with diamond blade
Wax pencil for marking cuts
Chalk line and chalk
Tile spacers (optional)
We like using acrylic modified thin set mortar to install our tiles. On a wall, it is easiest to install with a mortar that is somewhat firm, so the tiles will stay in place while the adhesive sets up. If the bricks sag due to to "runny" of a mortar, I have heard of some people report they have had success using a touch of construction adhesives to tack the brick for the short term while the mortar sets.
Reclaimed Brick Veneer Wall Tile Installation InstructionsNote that these instructions are a guide, different tile installers have different preferences on the methods they use.
Make sure your wall is sound and dry. Snap chalk lines to guide yourself, usually every courses of brick.The tiles are 2 1/4" wide, so with a standard 3/8" mortar joint snap these lines every 7 7/8". Depending on the height of your installation, you may want to fudge the height of the grout line measurement + or - to insure that you will not have any cuts horizontally for the courses at the ceiling or floor.
Spread thin set mortar or mastic using a notch trowel.For best results use a thin set with acrylic additive and test it to be sure it will hold the tiles in place. Too runny of a mortar will allow the bricks to slip. Install your tile, giving them a slight twist to set them into place. Cut tile for edges and corners using a wet tile saw with a diamond blade. If you are using single piece "L: shaped corners, you should work from the corners out. Corners may also be mitred 45 degrees using matching brick, or overlapped.
Once the tiles are installed, make sure the mortar is completely dry before grouting with either sanded tile grout, or sand mix mortar (the same stuff they use to lay bricks). Use a pointing trowel as shown in my installation movie or a grout bag to minimize the amount of mortar that you have to clean from the surface of the tiles. Clean the bricks as you go, changing your water often.
After grouting the bricks may be sealed if you would like, although for walls other than backslashes this is probably not necessary. Use either a penetrating stone sealer, masonry sealer, or a terra-cotta sealer. Terra cotta sealers will darken the brick and add a sheen, be sure to test your sealer on a loose tile to be sure the results are to your satisfaction.
Reclaimed Brick Flooring Installation InstructionsMake sure your sub floor is clean, sound and dry. Snap chalk lines to guide yourself, usually every three tiles or so. The tiles are 3 5/8 wide, add in your grout lines depending on the width you would like to space these.
Spread thin set mortar using a 1/4" X 1/4" notch trowel. For best results use a thin set mortar with acrylic additive. Install your tile, giving them a slight twist to set them into the mortar. Cut tile for edges and corners using a wet tile saw with a diamond blade.
Once the tiles are installed, make sure the adhesive is completely dry before grouting with either sanded tile grout, or sand mix mortar (the same stuff they use to lay bricks).
Clean the bricks as you go with a sponge, changing water often. Any residual haze may be removed by cleaning with a muriatic acid solution, although usually this is not necesarry.
After grouting, common brick tiles must be sealed (this step is not necesarry for street paver tiles or other hard shale brick). If using a terra-cotta type acrylic or waxed based sealer, the tiles need only be dry for a day or two before sealing. If you are going to use a polyurethane high gloss sealer, be certain that the bricks are completely dry first. The oil based, non yellowing polyurethane's work better than the water based sealers. It is best to wait at least 3 weeks before sealing with a poly; a moisture meter is helpful to determine that all of the water is out of the brick. Foot traffic is fine during the drying time. If polyurethane is applied before all moisture is out of the brick, there is danger that efflorescence (salts in the brick) can migrate to the surface and cause whitening between the brick and the sealer. Follow all instructions by the manufacturer of the sealant, especially turning off the pilot lights on heaters and water heaters when an oil based sealer is being applied.
Enjoy your reclaimed brick floor for years to come!